2010-03-06 / Viewpoints

Dairying and drilling

To the editor:

We are dairy farmers and are opposed to natural gas drilling.

Chemical hydrofracturing is already having a negative effect on our farming communities. While natural gas money is attractive to many farmers, many of them are selling out and ceasing operation to “manage their wells.” Our own local Dairy Farmers of America representative is planning to do just that.

This will affect us all, as farming has a tremendous effect on our local economies. Yes, farmers need help, but not with fracking.

We need to demand a change in our current milk pricing system, putting pressure on our congressmen to support legislation to secure farmers’ cost of production. We need to support solar and wind technology (our dairy farm is solar powered), expand methane gas production from our cows and develop other alternatives to fracking.

We, unfortunately, have first-hand knowledge of chemicals and water contamination due to MTBA chemical contamination from Exxon Mobil. We smelled it and were told it was nothing to worry about. We tested it, but tests returned normal because we did not know what to test for.

We litigated the matter, only to have the case thrown out due to the statute of limitations. No money was available to clean the water (which is not possible anyway), so it was diluted. Clean water tanks were provided, then removed after 18 months. Twelve years later, our loved one is suffering devastating effects of MS along with many others with autoimmune diseases.

No matter how deep chemicals are pumped into our ground, we are all at risk. The reason drilling money paid per-acre keeps rising is because there is so much risk involved. Many of our friends do not want to lease their land, but believe if they do not they will be drilled under anyway.

I resent that one non-farming, pro-drilling advocate says that “farmers want drilling,” then ended a conversation with me by saying, “I want the money so I can get out of this county.”

We urge you all to realize that while some will make money turning their farms into well pads, drilling is not good for farming.

Stefan and Cindy Gieger

Jeffersonville, N.Y.

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